Archive for May 20th, 2013

Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is changing his team’s name to the Hornets, said a person familiar with the situation.

The person said Jordan will detail the timetable for the change to be completed at a press conference the Bobcats have scheduled for Tuesday. The person spoke to The Associated Press Monday on condition of anonymity because the name change has not been publicly announced.

NBA deputy commissioner and COO Adam Silver previously said it would take ”about 18 months” for the Bobcats to change their name. That means Charlotte could once again become the Hornets by the 2014-15 season.

The Hornets resided in Charlotte from 1988-2002 before then-owner George Shinn moved the franchise to New Orleans.

The New Orleans Hornets recently changed their name to the Pelicans.

– Reported by Steve Reed of the Associated Press

Chris Hansen is not going away in his pursuit of bringing the NBA back to Seattle.

Hansen released a statement on his website on Monday afternoon, congratulating Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson on his efforts to keep the Kings in California, while also vowing to keep up his pursuit of getting the NBA back to Seattle.

”Even as we are disappointed with the developments related to our efforts to purchase the Kings, we would just like to reiterate our dedication to bringing the NBA back to Seattle,” Hansen wrote. ”We will continue to press forward with our arena plans with the same commitment and effort we have over the last two years, and look forward to working with the City (of Seattle) and (King) County to see the project through the hurdles that remain. Likewise, we plan to continue to work with the league regarding opportunities that may arise to return an NBA franchise to our City.”

– Reported by Tim Booth of the Associated Press

Pat Williams is pretty good at being lucky, and he’s got a hunch.

”I got a funny feeling that this could be another Magic year, here. For some reason, I’ve just got the feel,” Williams said.

Orlando sure could use it.

Following a difficult first season after trading Dwight Howard, the Magic are hoping Williams can bring them more lottery luck.

Armed with the best odds and their three-time winner back on stage, the Magic will try to jump-start the rebuilding process Tuesday night by landing the rights to the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

Williams has won four times, including victories in 1992, ‘93 and 2004 with the Magic. They used the most recent one to draft Howard, and no team since has entered with the best odds and won the lottery.

The Magic were back in the lottery the next two years but were busy playing in the postseason every spring since until this one, when they finished an NBA-worst 20-62 after sending Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers last August in a four-team deal.

That gives them a 25 percent chance at winning the rights to choose first in a draft that appears uncertain. Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel is considered the top choice, though he could miss the first two months of the season while recovering from a torn ACL.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony will have his sore left shoulder examined by team doctors, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

The team is hoping that the injury is not serious and will not need surgery.

Anthony played much of the postseason in pain and it got worse during Game 5 of the first-round series against the Boston Celtics when Kevin Garnett pulled on his arm while setting a screen.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

The Toronto Raptors are moving executive Bryan Colangelo out of basketball operations and into a corporate position with the team.

Yahoo! Sports reported Monday that the Raptors are making the move because they are interested in hiring Denver Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri to take over their front office.

Colangelo has run the team’s basketball operations for seven years but the team has only made the playoffs twice during that span and is coming off a 34-48 season.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

Ties broken for 2013 NBA Draft order

Four ties among teams that finished the 2012-13 NBA regular season with identical records were broken today through random drawings to help determine the order of selection for the 2013 NBA Draft, which will be held on Thursday, June 27.

The drawings were conducted earlier today in New York City by Jason Cahilly, NBA executive vice president, strategy and chief financial officer, and Dan Rube, NBA senior vice president and deputy general counsel. The tiebreaker process was overseen by Denise Pelli, a partner in the accounting firm of Ernst & Young.

The results of the drawings:

• Detroit (29-53) won a tiebreaker with Washington.

• Philadelphia (34-48) won a tiebreaker with Toronto.

• Houston (45-37) won a tiebreaker with Chicago and the L.A. Lakers; the Lakers then won a tiebreaker with Chicago.

• L.A. Clippers (56-26) won a tiebreaker with Memphis.

2013 NBA Draft Lottery info, date, time

The 2013 NBA Draft Lottery will be held at the Disney/ABC’s Times Square Studios in New York on Tuesday, May 21, and will be televised on ESPN at 8:25 p.m. EDT.

The 2013 NBA Draft Lottery will determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the 2013 NBA Draft, which will be held at Barclays Center, the home of the Brooklyn Nets, on June 27 at 7 p.m.

The NBA Draft Lottery’s origins trace back to June 1984, when at an NBA Board of Governors meeting in Salt Lake City, the league voted to adopt a lottery system among the non playoff teams to determine the order of selection in the first round of the NBA Draft beginning in 1985. This year will mark the tenth time in the event’s 29-year history that it is conducted in New York City.

The inaugural lottery was held on May 12, 1985 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, but from 1994 until last year, the event had been held at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, N.J. however the league’s facilities in New Jersey no longer house a television studio.

(Chances of winning the No. 1 overall pick)

1) Orlando Magic: 25%
2) Charlotte Bobcats: 19.9%
3) Cleveland Cavaliers: 15.6%
4) Phoenix Suns: 11.9%
5) New Orleans Pelicans: 8.8%
6) Sacramento Kings: 6.3%
7) Detroit Pistons: 3.6%
8) Washington Wizards: 3.5%
9) Minnesota Timberwolves: 1.7%
10) Portland Trail Blazers: 1.0%
11) Philadelphia 76ers: 0.8%
12) Toronto Raptors: 0.7%
13) Dallas Mavericks: 0.6%
14) Utah Jazz: 0.5% will provide full previews, coverage and recaps of all aspects of the 2013 NBA Draft

Andray Blatche had good season for Nets

Andray Blatche had good season for Nets

When Blatche was amnestied by the Wizards last summer, some wondered if he would ever get another NBA job again after his tumultuous tenure in the nation’s capital, including sitting out most of last season, first with a calf injury and then because Washington simply didn’t want him around any longer.

But after going to work out with John Lucas in Houston over the summer, Blatche met with then-coach Avery Johnson, who was convinced to give Blatche a chance with the Nets, basically guaranteeing him a roster spot.

No one could have known it at the time, but it turned out to be a master stroke for the Nets, as Blatche wound up becoming one of the team’s key contributors this season. He was the only player to suit up and play in all 82 games, and teamed with Brook Lopez to form one of the NBA’s best 1-2 punches at the center spot, and easily its best from an offensive standpoint.

When given the opportunity, Blatche also was effective at times playing alongside Lopez, including in the playoffs against the Bulls.

The season wasn’t without its speed bumps for Blatche, however. He seemed to tail off a bit at times after the decision was made to fire Johnson, the man who had brought him to Brooklyn and placed him on a strict workout regimen to help keep him on the straight and narrow.

– Reported by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post

Expect big role next year for Iman Shumpert

Next season, Carmelo Anthony’s main sidekick could be a healthy, emerging Iman Shumpert.

One major issue with the Knicks’ roster going forward is its lack of upside: The team is ancient, and few players have real room for NBA growth. One of the exceptions is Shumpert, who just emblazoned his second year as a pro with an electric playoff run, capped by his 3-pointer binge in Game 6 in Indianapolis that nearly saved the Knicks’ season.

Shumpert, an athletic 6-foot-5 swingman, turns 23 next month. He flashed his promise during the postseason: a terrific Game 6 against the Celtics (17 points, six rebounds, two steals), a sensational putback dunk in Game 2 versus the Pacers and a 16-point third quarter (including a trio of 3-pointers in 64 seconds) on Saturday.

“I just wanted to win,” Shumpert said of his Game 6 eruption.

– Reported by Mark Hale of the New York Post

Isiah Thomas earns master`s degree

Isiah Thomas

Former Detroit Pistons ‘Bad Boy’ Isiah Thomas continued to keep busy in school after a Hall of Fame playing career and multiple years as a basketball coach. Today, it paid off for him.

Thomas graduated with a masters of education from the University of California at Berkeley, tweeting his cap and gown and retweeting congratulations to other UC Berkeley graduates.

He said in a recent Huffington Post story that he has “studied the connections between education and sports. In pursuing this degree, I have had the time to reflect on how we, as a society, make available access to education for athletes, especially black male athletes.”

– Reported by Brian Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press

They probably weren’t the main topic of conversation during the NBA predraft combine last week in the Windy City, but the 76ers’ situation certainly was at the forefront of a lot of talk. With the hiring of Sam Hinkie as president of basketball operations and general manager, more questions seemed to have come about than answers.

“Who is making the basketball decisions right now?” asked one league executive.

When told it was Hinkie, known for his analytics expertise, he replied: “Don’t they have a basketball guy helping out in some ways?”

When it was offered that Hinkie and majority owner Josh Harris were possibly relying on the expertise of Rod Thorn - though now in an advisory role - and others in the front office, another executive responded, “I don’t think they are leaning on Rod Thorn as much as they should or he wants and I heard there still might be changes to the front office.”

– Reported by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News

amare stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire knows his contract won’t allow him to go anywhere and he wants Mike Woodson to make a commitment to make a frontcourt of Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler work.

“We never gave it a chance,” Stoudemire said after Indiana’s 106-99 victory eliminated the Knicks from the postseason. “So I think just the opportunity of allowing them to understand exactly what my style of play is and what I bring to the table is something that I think I’m going to have to sit down with Coach Woody and express to him.”

Stoudemire, who had knee surgery in October and again in March, was limited to 29 regular-season games and four in the postseason. He came off the bench in all 33 games and became a forgotten man in Games 5 & 6 against Indiana as Woodson elected to bench the $100 million forward in the second half of both.

“It’s tough, it’s tough,” he said. “It’s never easy to sit there and watch. But again, it’s Coach’s decision.”

– Reported by Peter Botte and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News

Tony Parker

The San Antonio Spurs opened the Western Conference finals resembling the past champions who’ve been there so many times before.

The Memphis Grizzlies looked like the first-timers still trying to adapt to their first conference finals appearance.

Tony Parker had 20 points and nine assists, Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points and the Spurs struck first by beating Memphis 105-83 on Sunday.

San Antonio raced out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter, then came up with a response when Memphis rallied to get within six in the second half. Both teams pulled their starters with over 5 minutes left and the Spurs leading by 21…

The NBA’s stingiest defense wasn’t up to its usual standards, allowing the Spurs to hit 53 percent of their shots and a franchise postseason-record 14 3-pointers while All-Star power forward Zach Randolph struggled. Randolph had just two points, getting his only basket with 9:26 left in the game…

The four regular-season meetings were all won by the team with more points in the paint, but perimeter shooting proved to be a bigger factor in the playoff opener. Memphis, which was second in the NBA by holding opponents to 33.8 shooting on 3-pointers, let San Antonio make 13 of its first 24 from behind the arc and finish 14 of 29.

Danny Green connected three times and scored 16, and Matt Bonner hit four of his five attempts for 12 points…

Pondexter led Memphis with 17 points, Marc Gasol scored 15 and Mike Conley had 14 points and eight assists.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

Memphis’ abject lack of outside shooting (5 for 12 on 3s) killed them in two respects. One, they were outscored by 27 points from beyond the arc, easily the biggest different in the game. Two, it allowed the Spurs to basically ignore their perimeter players and collapse on the low-post tandem of Randolph and Marc Gasol.

Gasol was active early on, but he needed 16 shots to score 15 points while drawing just two free throws. Randolph barely got any touches at all, scoring his lone bucket on a tip-in while missing 7 of 8 shots. He had been averaging 19.7 points on 51.2-percent shooting in the postseason.

It’s fitting Gregg Popovich used a football metaphor to describe the Spurs’ strategy, which was basically a page taken straight from their first-round meeting with the Lakers — swarm the paint first, recover on shooters second.

“Zach and Marc are a heck of a combination, probably the best high-low combination in the league,” Popovich said. “Everything they do is really difficult to stick with, and you’ve got to have a mindset to do it on every down. You can’t be perfect at it. They’re just too good. But the effort was there for 48 minutes.”

– Reported by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News

Hey, at least your team made the playoffs, Stephen A. Smith.

The outspoken ESPN personality took to Twitter on Sunday to mourn the loss of the New York Knicks, who were eliminated in six games by the Indiana Pacers on Saturday in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“I’m DEPRESSED right now, Ladies and Gentlemen,” he tweeted at 1 p.m. “Not going to lie. Can’t sleep. Won’t eat. Don’t wanna work! But I’ll be in FIRST TAKE in AM.”

Of course, Smith is referring to that delightful debate show that takes place on ESPN every morning with fellow analyst Skip Bayless, who takes his fair share of lumps on Twitter.

Smith later tweeted: “Just leave me be while I recover from this, please!”

As Pistons and Lions fans can attest to these days, something tells us he will be OK.

– Reported by Brian Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press

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